Can it be right for a high-powered local council official to be deemed “permanently ill” and allowed to retire on a £50,000 pension at age 54 only to pop up a few weeks later at another council, being paid more than £260,000 a year….and still claiming his pension?
Surely Eric Pickles, the self-proclaimed scourge of such Town Hall shenanigans, would be keen to act on such an abuse, especially after it was highlighted by the Mail on Sunday?
Well, er, no. At least not when the man costing taxpayers more than £310,000 a year works for Tory Hammersmith & Fulham, the council which Pickles describes as the “apple of my eye”.
For when the borough’s opposition leader wrote to Pickles about Nick Johnson, H&F’s Director of Housing and Regeneration, doing all of the above and suggested that Johnson should be moved from his private contractor status to PAYE, thus forfeiting his pension for now, Pickles's only response was to get underling Baroness Hahnham to write explaining why the government needed to look the other way. (The letters have fallen into our hands and can be viewed here.)
Maybe that apple is interfering with our Eric's vision?